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Pregnant. Breathlessness, rapid heartbeat. Why does this happen?

Hello I am currently 36 weeks pregnant with my first child. For about two weeks now I have been feeling a shortness of breath especially in my sleep to where my fiance has to wake me up cause I m literally gasping for air. Also I have had a rapid heartbeat throughout the day not constant but at least 5times an hour for about 5min each time. I would like to know if this is normal and what I can do to ease these symptoms. Let me make it clear I could be laying down or simply sitting, standing and these symptoms occur.
Asked On : Sat, 9 Mar 2013
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Cardiologist 's  Response
Dear Ma'm
thanks for writing to
at this stage of pregnancy it is a common problem to be a little breathless because the diaphragm (partition between stomach and lungs) goes up and the amount of air which can be inhaled in single breath is decreased. the hemoglobin tends to be low and contributes to breathlessness, but still it is not usual to be so breathless that u start gasping. i would recommend to get your hemoglobin checked and do see your physician to rule out any heart disease as incidence of heart failure in pregnancy peaks up at 32 weeks only. i hope everything will be alright but still you must go for it.
try to rest on your side rather than on ur back. it will help to some extent.
Answered: Fri, 5 Apr 2013
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